New Delhi: In a significant development, the black box or the flight data recorders of the Air India Express flight that broke into pieces after it skidded off a tabletop runway amid heavy rain at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport late on Friday evening have been found on Saturday morning.
The recorders — a Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) — store crucial information about a plane’s altitude, position and speed, as well as records of conversations between the pilots, and are critical in helping aviation investigators understand what happened to the flight.
Meanwhile, the investigating officers from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) on Saturday morning started their probe into the crash. Twenty people, including the two pilots, died in the accident.
The Vande Bharat Mission flight had 190 people on board, including 184 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew members.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who is expected in Kozhikode on Saturday afternoon, has ordered an investigation into the incident.
The pilots, one of them a decorated former fighter pilot, had aborted two landings due to tailwind and had circled the airport several times before the final landing. The area had been slammed by torrential rains since Thursday.
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Flight Data Recorder (FDR) – device used to record specific aircraft performance parameters. The purpose of an FDR is to collect and record data from a variety of aircraft sensors onto a medium designed to survive an accident.
An FDR has historically been one of two types of “flight recorder” carried on aircraft, the other being a cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Where both types of recorder are fitted, they are now sometimes combined into a single unit (ICAO Definition: Combination recorders). Combination recorders need to meet the flight recorder equipage requirements as specifically detailed in ICAO Annex 6 – Operation of Aircraft.
The recorder is installed in the most crash survivable part of the aircraft, usually the tail section.
The data collected in the FDR system can help investigators determine whether an accident was caused by pilot error, by an external event (such as windshear), or by an airplane system problem. Furthermore, these data have contributed to airplane system design improvements and the ability to predict potential difficulties as airplanes age. An example of the latter is using FDR data to monitor the condition of a high-hours engine. Evaluating the data could be useful in making a decision to replace the engine before a failure occurs.